How many of these names do you remember: American Motors, J. M. Fields, Packard? Do you remember cassette tapes, floppy disks, photographic film, video-cassette recorders, payphones, long-distance charges, telephone books and record stores? The list goes on and on.
As time marches on, the way we live continues to change. Business is undergoing constant change as well.
Cab drivers are fighting against extinction as Uber drivers are taking their jobs away, but the cabbies will get their revenge. Google and others are perfecting driverless cars. Someday in the future the Uber driver will be replaced by software.
As our practices march on in time with the rest of the world, change will be required. Even prospecting is changing dramatically. In the future, how will we acquire new clients? Is the Internet the answer? Certainly the Internet must be a major player in our future client acquisition efforts. But, how can we integrate what we know and do, what we know and don’t yet do, and what we know we must do even if we don’t yet understand how?
Our younger colleagues are already beating the older producers. Hand a five-year-old your smart phone and he will probably know his way around as well or perhaps better than you.
I speak to producers every day who are resisting the future as though it’s some kind of terrible menace that wants to make their lives miserable. But in reality, it’s not getting worse for us, it’s getting better.
Change is always challenging. As a 63-year-old, settled in his ways as a business owner, I find it quite intimidating to grapple with change. I don’t like it. Change in the past came in waves of years, allowing time to adapt. Now change comes in torrents. Keeping up is a real fight, but one worth fighting.
Here’s a fairly new phrase: “Inbound Marketing.” To me, the word marketing is an outbound process. How can you have in-bound marketing?
The old way was to set up a call center, do some advertising and have operators answer the calls. While that still happens, it is fast becoming obsolete. Now we have a way for people to ask us to do business with them, but it’s complicated, time consuming and not easy. However, it’s very lucrative and, what’s more important, it’s the way marketing will be accomplished in the future.
I am fortunate to have a couple of adult children who are already experts at in-bound marketing and they are teaching me. One of them works with a financial advisor. When he started working on the inbound process he would get about one or two inquiries a week. Now he gets up to four a day. It has taken time and effort to get the requests flowing, but it’s definitely worth that effort.
Some of you have experienced a portion of the process from marketing organizations, but they make some critical mistakes. They are losing sight of the fact that most individuals don’t like aggressive sales people. It’s aggravating and time consuming. The prospect is asking for information and getting more than he asks for. He may be offered an interesting report. He gets the report and then a phone call. The phone call is a problem.
There are alternatives, but our old ways keep us from understanding and moving forward. Inbound marketing relies on some outbound offers, but they have to be offered in a non-threatening way. It’s time to find experts in this field and add a new and proven process to your practice. For those who are a little strapped financially, it’s time for some serious research on inbound marketing and marketing automation.
We must accept such changes and continue to adapt. We must embrace technology. We must learn its use in our world of financial services. We must continue to improve. We are not in competition with the producer down the street. We are now in competition with producers in every state in the country. Let’s improve our offensive game plan, give the ball to a better quarterback (our improved self) and win this game.